The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, on Monday said that between 50,000 and N100,000 Nigerians contact cancer annually in the country.
Senator Tejuoso spoke as stakeholders at a one-day public hearing on a Bill for an Act to Establish National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment in Nigeria expressed concerns over the spread of the disease in the country.
Tejuoso underscored the World Health Organisation (WHO) report that cancer is a major cause of global deaths with seven million being recorded every year and 72 per cent of such deaths occurring in middle income countries such as Nigeria.
He noted that the rate of deaths caused by cancer in the world is about13 per cent.
The Ogun State lawmaker noted that the Cancer Research Centre will foster scientific improvement to cancer prevention, treatment and care and as well co-ordinate and liaise between the wide range of groups and health care providers with an interest in cancer.
Tejuoso listed other objectives of the centre to include making recommendations to the government about cancer policy and priorities; overseeing dedicated budget for research centre; assisting with the implementation of government policies and programmes in cancer control and providing financial assistance out of money appropriated by the National Assembly for research and treatment.
He noted that one out of every eight women expect to be diagnosed of breast or cervical cancer in their lifetime.
According to him, two of every 10 men expect to be diagnosed for prostate, lungs and colorectal cancer.
He said: “It is also well known that the various forms of cancer disease have been more felt in Africa and Nigeria in particular where resources and awareness are not readily available for prevention, diagnose and treatment. This bill seeks to provide for establishment of the National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment to research into cancer and to provide treatment to patients in Nigeria.”
The Ministry of Health represented by a director in the ministry, Dr. Patience Osinubi, noted that instead of narrowing the handling of cancer disease to establishing a research centre, the bill should embrace a holistic approach to the disease by establishing National Agency for the Control of Cancer.
She also highlighted the need to focus on every area related to the ailment, noting that cancer is treatable if it is detected earlier. The Nation